Fall garden (or CSA box) harvests can mean leftover veggies sitting neglected on kitchen counters, root cellars or worse, fridges. I say I like having tons of fresh produce, but then I find procrastination kicks in. All the while, the soul of these poor vegetables slowly eek away…
Here are five ways to transform them into weird-ass tapas for your next Remembrance Day party:
1. Crunchy oil-cured tomatoes
- All you have to do is cut them in halves (or thirds), “soak” them in quality olive oil for awhile (20 minutes is fine), and then toss on some salt and toasted breadcrumbs.
2. Beet tempura with soy-garlic sauce and parsley
- We all secretly love beets (especially those who claim to hate them…I used to be one of them). But we also tend to avoid them because they seem, well, kinda un-fun. That’s where tapas magic steps in.
- Slice beets into 1/4″ thick rounds and boil in water about 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, whip up a tempura batter (1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups club soda, 1 tablespoon corn starch; or use Daniel Vézina’s fancy version at the very end of this long episode of Les Chefs!).
- Get a wok or small pot of vegetable oil nice and hot
- When the beets are done, carefully dip them in the batter and one by one, drop into the hot oil
- You’ll know when they’re done: they’ll be golden brown.
- Smash and mince a clove of your garden garlic and whisk it into 1/4 cup soy sauce, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with parsley from your garden (or your Chinese or Italian neighbours’)
3. Zucchini and parmesan shavings on quinoa crackers
- Make some little quinoa patties
- Slice zucchini really thin
- Rub it with salt and pepper and let it sit for 20 minutes (it will “cure”)
- Rinse salt and place on quinoa patties.
- Top with equally-thin shavings of parmesan
4. Pumpkin beignets
I’m not even going to pretend to tell you how to make beignets. But I’ll alert you to the fact that you can make pumpkin ones. You cannot lose: pumpkins get used up, and beignets always taste fucking amazing. So I’ll pass you over to the adept hands of Carla Hall.
5. Puree of bush beans with crispy skins wrapped in herring
Beans, beans, beans. What to do with them all, especially as they keep producing late into the season? You got me. Okay, this is a pretty fucked-up one, and I’m going to admit I’ve never tried it. (But I did come up with it). Mainly, I lack herring, but next time I’m visiting my dad I’ll try it out with some of his pickled trove!
- Remove beans from pods and boil in salted water 7 minutes.
- Drain, pulse with more salt, pepper, and drizzled olive oil in processor
- Crisp up empty pods by tossing them, briefly into piping hot, oily skillet
- Season with pepper, and possibly a dash of sweet chili or paprika
- Remove from heat.
- Place a dollop of the bean purée on each crisp pod.
- Wrap with herring.
The final result is either inedible or exceptional…either way, it’s play off the traditional anchovy-wrapped olive tapas.